The wisdom of the seasons

Now that it feels like winter – although I hear it’s going to be 60 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday? – my running schedule, if you can even call it that, will need to be readjusted.

A part of me is afraid that this running thing of mine will soon turn into a phase. Just the thought of going outside in freezing weather makes me want to drink tea all day, while wearing my sneaky fluffy.

Tangential note (DO NOT SKIP – THIS IS ESSENTIAL READING!): “Sneaky fluffy” is what my baby nephew who is now 12-years-old used to call his soft plush blanket. Wanting to keep the tradition alive because I don’t have any kids in my life anymore, I now refer to my plush purple polka-dotted robe that Mr. Rafia used to hate but has now come to accept… because he really has no choice… because I don’t live in Southern California, as my sneaky fluffy. I couldn’t find a photo of it online, but basically, I look like a purple version of Polkaroo when I wear it, as I am right now. For those of you who do not know, Polkaroo is a Canadian legend. I really do feel sorry for those who did not spend their childhoods in Canada. Canadian children’s television shows are THE best. This is not my opinion. It is a fact. Just ask any Canadian! ;)

Oh yeah, so back to running and being cold. I am afraid that because of my intolerance of the cold and winter in general (it’s not just the cold; the days are shorter too and so I don’t have hours of time between the different prayers to do things I would do in the spring and summer), I’ll be less inclined to run and then when that happens, I’ll stop completely… and then everything I’ve built towards in these few short months, either a) I will just leave entirely or b) will have to rebuild. Option B is not so bad, and might not even be all that uncommon. One of my friends who is an avid runner noted that taking a few days off of running can waylay her a bit.

The thing is to get back into doing it.

I’m I have been the type of person to give up when things get tough. The now humorous story of my inability to climb up a little hill after my car slid into a ditch a few winters ago (another reason to dislike winter! The driving!) is but one among many “Oh, Rafia!” anecdotes.

But I don’t want to be that person anymore.

One thing I’ve been trying to work on is to not let my past dictate my future. If that really were true, I’d probably be 300+ pounds today. What I am referring to here instead are the mental roadblocks I create for myself. I think we all do this on some level. As human beings, we conceive of a core identity for ourselves that we think is never-changing. On some level, we need this for our mental health. And while I do believe there is a core that is and should remain constant, not everything about ourselves is a part of this core.

Like my desire of wanting to go to Disney World? I really did want this up until ages 0 to 31. But today? If I never go, I’ll be okay. I can finally admit this. My conception of Disney as a 31-year-old woman is not what it was when I was a 7-year-old girl. This might seem like a superficial example, but it’s really not. Mickey was my life. But just because I no longer feel compelled to walk inside a Disney store each time I go to a mall (they ain’t what they used to be) does not make my love for Mickey any less real.

At some point, we all have to ask ourselves: Is this what I really want?

I don’t know if I’ll be running into my 70s/80s. For one, I don’t know if I will live that long. Second, I don’t know what state of health I will be in if I do live that long. But with where I am right now, I don’t want to stop running. I don’t want it to be a phase.

As with any other thing that is a part of our life, we need to make adjustments.

Prayer is a beautiful example of this for me personally. When the days get shorter, that means sometimes I will have to say No to things that I would normally say Yes to. No to a play I really want to see. Or No to dinner with a friend. But hey, what about brunch? I can do that. I do love me some french toast!

So, with running, maybe I won’t be able to go for a trail run on Saturday mornings that I really came to look forward to these past few weeks. Maybe that means I will have to become friends with a treadmill again. But just because things have to change a bit for the time being, that does not mean they will stop indefinitely. I mean, I really dislike winter, but would I really want to live in the summer all-year-long? Change can be good, because change is sometimes needed.

I do believe there is a divine wisdom behind the changing of the seasons. It’s the simplest yet most poignant metaphor for our lives.

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